A trio of bel canto stars--Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau, and Joyce DiDonato--headline the Met's first-ever production of Le Comte Ory, Rossini's final comic masterpiece. Bartlett Sher's hit production will air on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 24 at 12 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the production on Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m., with an encore presentation Sunday, July 24 at 12:30 p.m. as part of SundayArts.
The telecast was originally seen live in movie theaters on April 9, 2011 as part of the groundbreaking series The Met: Live in HD, which transmits live performances to more than 1500 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 46 countries around the world.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers.
This performance made headlines the world over as--less than an hour before curtain time--tenor Florez assisted in the delivery of his first child. He welcomed the baby boy into the world, then raced to the Met to sing the opera's demanding title role, a scheming young count who vies with Isolier (DiDonato, in a trouser role) for the love of the lonely Countess Adele (Damrau).
Renee Fleming, who will star in the Great Performances at the Met broadcast of Capriccio on August 14, hosts the broadcast.
All three of the opera's stars appeared in Sher's acclaimed Met production of Rossini's IL Barbiere di Siviglia; Damrau and Florez sang in the 2006 new production premiere and DiDonato and Florez starred in a 2007 Great Performances at the Met broadcast.
Le Comte Ory's hero is Florez's seventh bel canto role at the Met. He also starred in the Great Performances at the Met broadcasts of La Fille du Regiment and La Sonnambula. Damrau has performed at the Met in a varied repertory encompassing stratospheric coloratura roles, such as Mozart's Queen of the Night, as well as bel canto heroines, including the title characters in Lucia di Lammermoor and La Fille du Regiment. DiDonato has won praise for her singing and acting at the Met as Rosina in Barbiere, as well as in the trouser roles of Stephano in Romeo et Juliette and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. The cast also includes Susanne Resmark as Ragonde; Stephane Degout as Raimbaud; and Michele Pertusi as The Tutor.
The New York Times called Le Comte Ory "one of Rossini's wittiest and most seamless and sophisticated works" and applauded Sher's "lively, colorful and inventive production." Reviewing the opening of the new production, the Associated Press criticsaid Le Comte Ory "sparkles...with a brilliant cast of bel canto specialists... Florez reveled in the title role's pyrotechnical challenges, including many excursions up to high C and above...Damrau stopped the show with the coloratura fireworks in her entrance aria and proved a consistent, sweet-toned delight...DiDonato sang Isolier with luxuriant tone and dazzling agility."